I was diagnosed with depression about 4 years ago. It made sense, I was feeling very low, self harming and had been having suicidal thoughts. If anything, I was happy to have the diagnosis, as I felt it legitimised the difficulties I was having, when my parents were telling me it wasn't a big deal.
I recently found out that I may have a borderline personality disorder. I haven't been officially diagnosed as far as I know, but my mental health nurse listed some of the symptoms and asked me if I thought they applied to me, and gave me some information on it. He thinks that the bpd support group and therapy they run would be helpful for me.
Now, I have to admit when I first heard him say bpd I was terrified. It made me feel broken in a completely different way to simply having depression. It felt like I was reaching a whole new level of mental illness, and it scared me. I think the name itself is very intimidating, and also the connotations a 'personality disorder' seems to come with. It feels like an attack on your very personhood.
I spent the rest of the day reading about bpd, and crying. Crying because of how some of the symptoms have been affecting my life without me even realising it. I never knew that my relationship difficulties could be part of a disorder. It made me feel so broken, and yet now I can see that actually this can give me hope. Hope that it is possible for me to change my life, learn how to live with who I am, and my flaws, and learn the skills to be able to do life more successfully.
A revolutionary thing I learnt around this time last year, was that recovery isn't about becoming like everyone else, or reaching a point where you're 'cured'. It's about embracing your differences and learning to live with your illness. Recovery means you learn more skills to cope, and are able to live life fully.
It's just over two weeks until my next appointment with my mental health nurse, but I have decided that I think DBT, the type of therapy I'm being offered, could be helpful for me and I would like to try it. I also think that bpd fits, with many of the symptoms applying to me.
One aspect I think is slightly tricky though, and has made me have a good think, is the identity aspect. A bpd can cause a person's identity to be unstable, with them not knowing who they are, or it changing frequently. Being trans, this initially worried me, making me question whether it is as a result of having a bpd. I have come to the conclusion that I don't think it is, because some aspects of my identity do change from time to time, but my gender identity has remained steady for a couple of years now. It has been constant when so many other things in my life have changed. Also I have been seen by many mental health professionals, including one gender specialist and none of them have ever linked the two.